Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I don't think I'll be taking the full 10 minutes.
Thank you very much, honourable committee members, for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss Canada's policing contribution to the United Nations stabilization mission in Haiti, commonly known as MINUSTAH.
My discussion is going to focus on the events following the earthquake of January 12, 2010.
Since 2004, over 500 Canadian police officers, representing federal, provincial, and municipal police services, have been deployed to MINUSTAH as UN police officers, otherwise known as UNPOL. Under the Canadian police arrangements--the CPA--the RCMP has funding to deploy up to 100 Canadian police officers to Haiti.
UNPOL in Haiti are primarily mandated to assist the Government of Haiti with ensuring a more secure and stable environment by monitoring, restructuring and reforming the Haitian National Police.
They are also responsible for assessing and identifying current training standards and needs of the Haitian National Police, providing specialized assistance during evacuations and disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, as well as security during elections.
Essentially, they assist with a wide range of activities to restore and promote public safety and the rule of law.
The devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, resulted in the deaths of more than 220,000 Haitians and 102 UN personnel, sadly including two of our own Canadian police officers from the RCMP, Chief Superintendent Doug Coates and Sergeant Mark Gallagher, who lost their lives that day as a result of the destruction caused by the earthquake.
The overall operational capacity of MINUSTAH was severely weakened in the early stages of the disaster as its personnel, including Canadian police officers, were also victims of the devastation. They lost friends and housing and suffered from food and water shortages. Despite these limitations, during the response phase of the disaster, Canadian UNPOLs responded with tremendous courage and resilience. Given the scale of losses suffered by the Haitian National Police, MINUSTAH security forces focused their effort on supporting the operational capacity of the HNP to maintain security and public order during the emergency.
Canadian police officers assisted by rescuing victims from collapsed buildings, by providing first aid, by delivering humanitarian aid, by conducting security patrols, and by escorting aid organizations as they arrived in Port-au-Prince. Outside of their duties with MINUSTAH, and under these exceptional circumstances, Canadian police officers also provided additional security at the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince and provided security escorts to Canadian victims being repatriated to Canada.
The ability of our police officers to respond so quickly and professionally was supported by the Canadian Forces, which provided transportation of relief supplies and personnel to Haiti, as well as logistical support on the ground within the first 48 hours of the event.
By January 19, 2010, the UN Security Council had increased the overall capacity levels of MINUSTAH to support the immediate recovery, reconstruction, and stability efforts. Since the earthquake, the police component has nearly doubled from its pre-earthquake numbers.
In support of this, Canada increased its numbers by funding the deployment of an additional 50 police officers under the Haiti reconstruction program, with funding from the international assistance envelope crisis pool.
Canadian UNPOLs continue to contribute significantly to the recovery process. With the displacement of more than 1.3 million people to internally displaced persons camps, the focus of police activity has shifted to protection of those locations, especially for the most vulnerable.
Canadian police officers are a valuable resource for MINUSTAH, as many are bilingual and some even speak Creole. During the past year they have assisted with the development of community policing programs as well as patrolling within these camps.
As my Correctional Service Canada colleague will undoubtedly confirm, following the earthquake the security situation was further complicated by the escape of over 5,000 prisoners from Haiti's prison system. Canadian police officers were instrumental in the development of the criminal intelligence unit, tasked with assisting the Haitian National Police in recapturing the escaped prisoners and creating a database of the prisoners. This information also assisted the RCMP here in Canada in identifying those wishing to immigrate to Canada fraudulently.
Although not part of our contribution to MINUSTAH, I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight another RCMP-led initiative during the disaster. For the first time in a disaster response, a multi-agency disaster victim identification team was deployed to Haiti to help identify Canadian victims of the earthquake for repatriation back to Canada or for burial in Haiti. The disaster victim identification team's response in Haiti demonstrated the success that can be achieved with a whole-of-government approach. This can be improved through continued disaster victim identification training and coordinated policies and procedures, with the goal of developing an integrated national and international response capability.
At the time of the earthquake there were 90 Canadian police officers deployed to MINUSTAH. Today there are 137, and they continue to mentor and guide their Haitian National Police counterparts through one of the most challenging periods in their country's history.
I would like to take this opportunity to note the recent appointment of Chief Superintendent Marc Tardif as Police Commissioner for MINUSTAH. This is a significant achievement for both Marc and Canadian police.
In closing, while the RCMP and other Canadian police officers faced numerous challenges after the earthquake, the experience underscored our ability to rapidly and effectively respond to the disaster. It also demonstrated the resilience, courage, and leadership of our police officers in the face of such overwhelming situations.
Thank you very much.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and honourable committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the Correctional Service of Canada's contributions and efforts in Haiti.
Every day across Canada, over 17,000 CSC employees work around the clock at 57 correctional institutions, 16 community correctional centres, and 84 parole offices, to help our citizens feel safe. On an average day, CSC is responsible for approximately 13,800 federally incarcerated inmates and 8,700 offenders in the community.
The correctional expertise of CSC staff members is well recognized internationally. As such, the service continues to participate in international humanitarian and capacity-building efforts to regions where there is a need for our employees' knowledge and skill set. As you well know, one of these areas is Haiti.
CSC has been active in the country since the mid-1990s, when CSC experts were deployed through the United Nations and Haitian correctional officers were trained in CSC facilities here in Canada. In 2004, we participated in a UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations assessment mission in Haiti. In 2007, the service entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that facilitated the deployment of CSC officials to the United Nations stabilization mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH.
Since 2007, CSC's contributions to MINUSTAH have involved improving local prison conditions by recommending and supervising infrastructure projects and promoting international human rights standards. CSC experts also mentor, train, and provide advice to prison staff at all levels, from front-line correctional officers to wardens and national authorities. They've also contributed to the development and delivery of a correctional training program for new Haitian recruits.
Sadly, as we are all well aware, in January 2010 the country suffered a devastating earthquake that inflicted major damage and resulted in innumerable casualties to local citizens, as well as our MINUSTAH colleagues. The seven CSC staff members who were in Haiti at the time were fortunate enough to escape serious harm. Of the 17 prisons in Haiti, eight were damaged directly as a consequence of the earthquake or by riots and fires post-quake. Of these eight, four were partially emptied, while the other four were totally vacated. About half of the total prison population escaped.
Following the earthquake, CSC staff in Haiti drew upon their expertise to assist in the development of an identification process of prisoners that could be utilized across the Haitian prison correctional system. This became very important following the earthquake to identify the recaptured prisoners. This process included collaboration with the UNPOL, the United Nations police, which also includes our colleagues from the RCMP.
Furthermore, during this period, CSC officials provided crucial front-line staffing relief to prison guards, as many of those Haitian staff did not report for work, primarily because they had lost their families, their homes, or both. Our staff also advocated for prisoners to have fresh air on a daily basis, and ensured that food and water were made available, which, as you can well imagine, was no small task considering that the need everywhere was great.
In February 2010, a post-disaster needs assessment was launched in Port-au-Prince, and the service was asked to participate and provide technical expertise. As a result, the CSC Ontario regional deputy commissioner was responsible for the corrections component of this assessment. Following this, CSC drafted a report that highlighted challenges and constraints both pre- and post-earthquake, and provided short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations.
Last April, CSC also sent a structural engineer to Haiti for two weeks to evaluate the structure of the prisons that were damaged in the earthquake and to help establish a priority list for infrastructure review and repair.
CSC staff in Haiti have also assisted local prison officials in dealing with prison riots, which Haitian authorities for the most part were not accustomed to. Specifically, two CSC staff members were able to use their expertise in crisis management to diffuse a riot at Cap-Haïtien prison before it escalated beyond control.
Following this, our locally deployed staff helped to develop a manual of contingency plans to establish directives on such crises as hostage-takings, escapes, riots, natural disasters, and external attacks. Furthermore, last month CSC also welcomed five Haitian correctional officials to our staff college here in Laval, Quebec, to participate in a week-long crisis management training course.
CSC currently has an expanded MOU with the Department of Foreign Affairs, which allows the service to deploy up to 25 employees to Haiti. At this time we have 16 correctional staff deployed as part of our contingent.
On this note, I'd like to inform the honourable committee members that when our commissioner sent out an internal message to all of our staff immediately following the earthquake, asking for assistance to increase the support being provided to Haiti's prison sector, more than 1,400 responses were submitted. This is a testament that speaks to the commitment and dedication of CSC employees across Canada and their desire to use their expertise to help others in need.
In Haiti and in Canada our staff continue to give personally and professionally to the Government of Canada's overall efforts to help rebuild the country, post-earthquake.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to restate how proud CSC is of the work that staff members have been undertaking in Haiti and their ability to rise to the many challenges of dealing with this devastating situation.
Thank you again for the opportunity to share with you the contributions CSC has made to the humanitarian and capacity-building efforts in Haiti. I'd be happy to welcome any questions you have.
Thank you very much for your questions.
I might ask you to repeat some parts of your question because it has several components.
Regarding your remarks about the report, that is in fact what the report stated. A public opinion analysis published in 2009, some time before the earthquake, showed that 70% of Haitians found that there had been positive changes within the police force.
At that time, the police force recruitment efforts had resulted in, on average, 20,000 job applications. So, there was a lot of interest. Being a police officer was obviously seen as a solid job.
Since the earthquake, there have not been many changes in terms of public safety. That was an issue before the earthquake and it still is an issue. However, the situation has not worsened, which can probably be attributed to the fact that there has been a significant increase in MINUSTAH staff.
Before the earthquake, I believe that there were about 2,200 foreign police officers in the country. Following the earthquake, the United Nations' involvement increased, and over 4,300 police officers were on site. This helped maintain a certain stability in terms of public safety.
I realize now that there are certain parts of your question I have not answered. Do you—
Members of the committee, at the outset, I would like to thank you very much for having provided me with this opportunity to brief you on the recent developments in Sudan, especially on the recently held referendum on the self-determination for Southern Sudan, and to discuss the future relations between Canada and Sudan.
I also want to express my appreciation and gratitude for the importance your esteemed committee is attaching to the recent political developments in Sudan, in light of the recent referendum.
May I make reference to the positive, balanced, concrete, and constructive outcome of the deliberations of your committee last December on the conduct of the referendum process and on future relations between Canada and Sudan in the post-referendum era.
I also would like to put special emphasis on the recommendation made at the conclusion of your deliberations, in particular your recommendation that “there must be a continuing role for Canada to assist Sudan in the post-referendum period, particularly with respect to development aid and humanitarian assistance and capacity-building initiatives”. That is a long-term and whole-of-government strategy for Sudan, which includes support for North and South Sudan.
Reference should also be made to the committee's recommendations concerning the visit of the high-level delegation, and we look forward to the visit taking place in the coming few months, before the end of the interim period.
The international observers expressed their satisfaction and described the process as credible, free, fair, and transparent. On February 7, 2011, the final results were announced. The Sudanese president issued a decree accepting the results of the referendum. Not only did he endorse the results of the referendum, he also expressed the commitment of Sudan to be the first to recognize, as of July 9, 2011, the newly born state in South Sudan. He also pledged to render all possible technical and logistical assistance to the independent South Sudan. As to the outstanding contentious post-referendum issues, the president said they are resolved to reach an agreement on them before the end of the interim period.
The President of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir, paid special tribute to President Al Bashir for his acceptance of the outcome. He said that President Al Bashir and the National Congress Party deserve a reward. He stressed that the independence of the South was not the end of the road because we cannot be enemies. President Salva Kiir called on the Southerners to pardon the Northerners for the war victims.
He promised to allow free movement of goods and people between the two countries and to cooperate with the Sudanese government in resolving post-referendum legal disputes. He also promised to campaign for the cancellation of Sudan's external debt and to convince Washington to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan.
Mr. Chair, as you know, the American sanctions constitute an impediment to Canadian companies that wish to invest in Sudan. We would like Canada to do its best to encourage the United States to keep its promise and to lift the sanctions as soon as possible.
Officials from the South and from the North must also agree on other sensitive issues, such as the Nile water, security, national assets, foreign debt, citizenship, and border crossings located in the Abyei region. Both parties must agree on the status of hundreds of thousands of Southerners living in the North and vice versa. President Al Bashir promised that the South Sudanese settled in the North will be protected and that their property will not be confiscated or their lives threatened.
Following a meeting with the Sudanese president on March 6, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who heads the high-level group charged with the implementation of the CPA, stated that the president assured him that they would resume the dialogue with the leader of the SPLM without prior conditions, with a view to ironing out the outstanding post-referendum issues, including Abyei.
On the other hand, the Sudanese president met on March 7, 2011, with South Sudan President Salva Kiir in the presence of Thabo Mbeki. They agreed to resume the dialogue on the Abyei dispute before the end of March and that a joint military force be deployed in Abyei following the immediate withdrawal from the area of the armies of the Government of Sudan and also the SPLM forces. They also agreed to implement the Kadugli agreement on Abyei and to resume Addis Ababa negotiations aimed at resolving the post-referendum issues.
I also would like to convey the appreciation of Sudan for the outstanding contribution Canada has been extending to assist all parts of Sudan to fully implement the CPA. We also would like to express our satisfaction vis-à-vis the statement issued by the , Prime Minister of Canada, on the result of the referendum in Sudan, with special emphasis on his pledge to assist both parties in Sudan in charting their post-referendum future.
Notwithstanding this colossal achievement, the Government of Canada, instead of rewarding the Government of Sudan for its commitment to fully implement the CPA, which has brought to a halt the longest-running war in Africa, decided, unfortunately and to our surprise, to downgrade unilaterally the diplomatic representation with the Sudan, from ambassadorial level to chargé d'affaires, e.p. level.
The Government of Sudan looks forward to witnessing a further enhancement of the existing bilateral relations between Sudan and Canada, and in particular looks forward to reviewing the upgrading of our diplomatic representation to the ambassadorial level in the very near future, as well as our hope that Canada will help Sudan in overcoming the post-referendum pending issues, to the benefit of both parties in Sudan and to further enhance our bilateral cooperation.
The Government of Sudan calls upon the international community, including Canada, to assist South Sudan in the post-war reconstruction. North Sudan will spare no effort to see to it that a strong, prosperous, stable, and viable state will be established in the south. Needless to say, the more prosperous and viable that South Sudan will be, the more sustainable and comprehensive the peace that will prevail in the whole of Sudan, and the people will no longer have fears about the reigniting of the conflict in the country.
I wish I could give you an elaborate historical background of the Sudanese conflict, but time constraints have made that impossible.
However, I would say that the majority of the conflicts and civil wars in Africa are a colonial legacy. That is why we are very happy that Canada does not have any colonial background in Africa or elsewhere in the third world.
We are talking about a time bomb that was planted during the colonial era. Not only did the colonial rule turn a number of African countries into scapegoats of a malicious policy, it also turned them into victims of organized and systematic pillaging of their natural resources and raw materials.
The civil war in Sudan is just one of the conflicts that have devastated the continent during the post-colonial period. I would mention, among others: civil wars in Eritrea, Biafra, Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire; apartheid and the minority rule in South Africa; the Ogaden War. The list goes on.
The contemporary history of Africa tells us that, between the Berlin conference of 1885, which was marked by the scramble for and the partitioning of African territories, and the fall of the Berlin wall at the end of the 1980s, Africa went through three “plagues.” First, there was colonialism and everything that went with it, such as apartheid, the slave trade and the pillaging of natural resources. Next, there was neo-colonialism, and I will explain.
From the end of the Second World War and all through the Cold War, the third world, and especially Africa, were the preferred battle ground for the East-West confrontation. With the build-up of the nuclear threat, the two world superpowers chose to carry out their rivalry by proxy.
Therefore, from the end of World War II, in 1945, until the end of the Cold War, in the late 1990s, the conflicts and civil wars that took place in the third world were fueled by the East-West rivalry.
All the conflicts that the world witnessed between 1945 and 1990 took place in the third world as a result of the polarization policy and the rivalry between the West and the East, with the exception of a few conflicts, such as: the Suez War; the tripartite aggression against Egypt; the Soviet invasion of Budapest in the late 1950s; the Prague Spring and the Czech revolt in the 1960s; the Vietnam war, from 1959 to 1975; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s; and the U.S. invasion of Burma in the late 1980s.
Since the fall of the Berlin wall and the breaking up of the Eastern Bloc, Africa has been emancipated from a bi-polar grip to find itself hostage to a monopolar or unipolar grip, that of the United States.